30 January, 2015

Flash Fiction: White Sheet

After I wrote the housekeeping post, I set up my writing itinerary on the fly, first spewed out on Twitter but organized on Ello. This week's flash fiction was prompted by the blizzard that swept through New England.  Enjoy!

    Peter moved the curtains aside, watching the snow fall down as he tied up each side. He could only see the trees and headlines that lined up his street. The white stuff covered everything else. This was not how he wanted the day to go. He resented being cooped up in his apartment where his roommates left him with a sink covered in dishes—some of them covered with yesterday’s spaghetti breakfast—and dish rags with a scent that reminded Peter of his high school’s locker room.

    If only he could escape this cage, run through the streets and hide in the nearby cafĂ© with the small booth in the corner. No. They would spot him if someone else called the seat home. Maybe that small house on the outskirts with the bronze statue of three men leaning on vintage Alfa Romeo. The owner was generous enough to let him stay out in the den when Peter first arrived while he looked for apartments downtown. That would work. They never went up there anyway, even when they recover from their hangovers. Peter thought he could hike back home from that place.

    But not today. The snow continued to fall faster in one diagonal white sheet. Peter could barely see the nearby condos. He went to the kitchen and started to place the dishes in the dishwasher. Then, he tossed the rags in the trash and tied it up. The smell ran away with it. Maybe today wouldn’t be so bad. After all, they were out at a music festival for the weekend. Peter switched on the television to a local news bulletin that quickly switched over to a daytime soap. He changed it to a football game, then another soap, then public access, Walking Dead

    Peter switched it off and looked at his phone. Nothing. Not from Duncan back home, or even Helen who penned a dinner date with him, but for who knows when now. He considered sending a text to reschedule it, but put his phone away instead. He heard the wind howl and shrill, and headed down to the complex’s foyer.

    The foyer was empty aside from Peter who decided to go through his mailbox. Most of the envelopes had last night’s timestamp, with the exception of a small postcard. The front had a picture of a bunch of fists, palms forward, with the phrase “Power to the People” underneath them and a huge U hanging from above. Peter flipped the postcard and gasped. There was today’s date in red ink with just one message beneath it, “They’ve blown your cover…run! Will rendezvous outside. That place.”

    Something snapped back into Peter’s mind. Them. The reason why he came here in the first place. The Union wanted him to go undercover and investigate them. Only problem was, he did not know who they were. The Union just gave him a small fortune cookie message taped to the sole of a stiletto heel with some latitude and longitude coordinates.

    Peter dropped his mail on the floor and ran towards the stairs. He jumped over the chains leading down, dashing into the basement corridor. He just bolted down the hallway, only glancing at the labels. He stopped at a door and tried to swing it open, but to no avail. Then another, and another…

    He collapsed on the ground, butt first, near a corner. There was a small slit at the top of the wall—a window completely covered in snow—with a small fifty-watt bulb just below, slowly fizzing out. Peter thought he could hear footsteps, muffled from afar. Maybe outside. Then a creak nearby. Peter tried to keep his eyes open, peering where the squeak came from. He heard the footsteps come closer and closer then…nothing.

19 January, 2015

Experiment Off to Co-Write

Following up from yesterday's update, I want to expand on why I decided to transfer the "Experiment in Flash Fiction" over to Co-Write. I originally started the series after I read a bit of Tim Sevenhuysen's Losing Freight* where readers could vote on what happens next after every chapter. With the Experiment, I decided to use comments to guide the project after I realized that the piece I initially worked on would pass the 1,000 word limit with the outline I had. It resulted in just a comment from one of my relatives that created what could be a stand-alone story.

Now it is. Over on Co-Write.

I briefly touched on what Co-Write is in the last post and I briefly talked about the daily tournaments--currently at 9pm GMT/4pm EST on weekdays--on Ello and Google+. However, it's not all tournaments and competition. Some of the best works just happen as users write and vote on the most interesting sentence to move the story forward. This ongoing story** is an example of what makes Co-Write stories interesting--start out simple and develop it out into something bigger, complex, with the "What's next?" question left to the users.

With that, I thought that the Experiment would make a snug fit and I already posted what was the second part into a plot summary. This one utilizes the plot-development format, based on the Snowflake Method, where users can split the summary into two separate sentences and develop the story further. How does it begin? What happens next? If you're on Co-Write, it's your call!

The Experiment continues!

*Sadly, the link to the actual story on 1889 Labs no longer works. I linked to Tim's blog that summarizes Losing Freight and its first five weeks.  

**Disclosure: I helped write the first part of this story. The second part can be found here. Both utilize the sentence-by-sentence sequence format. 

17 January, 2015


Back in October, I posted about my absence from writing flash fiction, wanting to make a comeback with them and to reacquaint myself with those communities that inspired me to further hone my craft in the first place. I'll confess that it made a good placeholder post and a note-to-self to make a more detailed recap, an actual post about where this blog will go from here on out.

With that out of the way: Hello, everyone! Apologies for the lengthy hiatus, courtesy of two years at university alongside other things. So what happened and what's new?

Graduation happened where I got my Bachelors in English and managed to fist-bump the college president. Then summer happened where I did a lot of summer reading after a good friend of mine introduced me to Goodreads.  

I took part in NaNoWriMo last year to see if I could make good headway on a project I started right after I graduated. I admit that I initially cheated with 4,395 words on day one--approximately 3,200 of which I wrote before the contest began--mostly because I worried about grammatical snafus. This turned into Writer's Block as the month progressed, especially since I did not have a detailed, Point-A-to-Point-B outline. That and I thought I had to name every scene in Scrivener as opposed to just concentrating on the actually writing. 

During that time, I got an invite to join Ello and another one to a website called Co-Write. I noted my progress and the lessons I learned on the former to get myself acquainted with the network that is turning out to be one of my favorites for both its principles and trends like Shelfies. I was personally invited over to the latter by its owner, @maile129 on Twitter, and I've been hooked ever since. The premise is in the name, co-writing, and it can be both creative and competitive, especially in the daily tournaments. Speaking of, here's one Malie recorded last year just to give you a taste of what Co-Write's like:

That's the recap! As for the blog, there are changes:
  • I changed the Creative Commons license for the blog from BY-NC-SA to BY-SA. I thought about moving some of my pieces, especially the Experiment in Flash Fiction over to Co-Write. This is more or less for consistency's sake since all works on the site are under the BY-SA license by default through the site's terms of service.
  • Instead of just the regular pieces of flash fiction, I also plan on musing now and then about anything I find interesting, based on current events, etc.. I plan on cross-posting them--first to Ello, then here. 
If you're looking for me on social media sites, you can find those links in my bio. Happy Reading!